Katharina von Bora: The Reformation and the Vocation of Homemaker

Wonderful sketch of Katharina Von Bora, the wife of Martin Luther, by Kristin Tabb at Desiring God – perhaps a good read aloud in your Morning Time this week? I was especially intrigued by this description of Katharina’s pioneering vocation as a pastor’s wife:

Katharina von Bora, by Gemälde von Lucas Cranach

Katharina’s role as spouse of the famed Reformer, mother to six biological (and several orphaned) children, and manager of their parsonage (another innovation of the Reformation) and property became an instructive model for Protestant pastors’ wives of that era . . . She renovated the abandoned Augustinian monastery that served as their home; hosted the guests that stayed in their forty rooms; served meals to thirty or forty people regularly and banquets for more than a hundred; and created a self-sustaining household by purchasing and cultivating farmland for gardens, orchards, and animals to provide food for family and guests — as well as making bread and cheese and brewing beer. In keeping with the Reformers’ view that all of life is spiritual, Katharina did not distinguish between “practical” and “spiritual” tasks, but found fuel for her daily work in that she served God in all tasks. Her engagement in theology was limited to her participation in the “table talks” that the Luthers hosted in their parsonage. She knew enough Latin and Scripture to engage in heated dinnertime debates, a habit Luther apparently encouraged. Read the rest at Desiring God.

The Kitchen Maid by Circle of Lucas Van Valckenborch, 16th century


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